Reflections on BETT 2013

It has been nearly a week since returning from BETT 2013, and only now have I managed to find five minutes to jot down a few words about the experience. For the first time, BETT took place at the Excel Arena in East London, a stones throw from where my Grandmother grew up and from where her house was destroyed during the Blitz. How things in the Royal Victoria Dock have changed.

The Excel Arena is huge, and the space was really appreciated as there was notably more room to get around. Similarly, the exhibitors appeared to have more space with which to exhibit their vast array of ed-tech products. The seminar halls were also located in amongst the exhibitors and were much easier to find than those of the Excel Arena’s ageing predecessor; Olympia in West London.

For the first time too, I learnt more from the exhibitors stands than I did from the official seminars at BETT. Professor Brian Cox aside, the presentations I saw in the designated arenas were either uninspiring, or rehashing what I already knew. Worst of all were the poorly disguised attempts to sell products. However, by wandering around the exhibitor stands I was able to talk with, and listen to interesting, dedicated and innovative educators such as Julia Skinner, Mark Anderson, Martin Burrett, David Mitchell and John Sutton. I even managed to deliver a presentation of my own on the Acer stand about the blogging journey at ISM.

The exhibitors themselves also has some absolute gems to take back to ISM and make some proposals. For example, I have already set up a MediaCore account for our school. Mediacore is a video platform for schools in which you can upload your own content or content from other sources such as YouTube or Vimeo. All comments and adverts are automatically removed and clearly this is a a huge advantage in an educational environment. Most impressive of its features was its Mobile App with which you can upload iMovies straight from your iPad’s camera roll!

Another product that really got my imagination flowing was the School Radio stand. Although perhaps a luxury, getting a school radio station would be amazing! We could perform plays, broadcast news, broadcast live music, broadcast interviews, create adverts  etc – the options are endless! Conjuring up the €7000 to get the system may prove a bit tricky though. I’ll work on it…

Overall, BETT was a fantastic experience. Its great to meet so many likeminded people; successfully restoring all faith in my drive to ensure learning is at a premium by exploring and utilizing the myriad of creative, meaningful and enjoyable ways in which technology can enhance it.

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